Elections have consequences.
Last year, Virginia’s General Assembly was mostly blue for the first time in decades. Laws were passed that protect WORKERS not COMPANIES.
One of these laws, is a total change on how Virginia handles Non-Compete agreements.
I have likely written 100 blog posts, podcasts and articles on Virginia Non-Compete law. Heck, we even wrote a book (like an actual book with pages). THROW IT ALL OUT THE WINDOW – IF, you make less than $59,000 ish a year. If you make more – read my old blogs.
This week my partner Dan taught a CLE to Virginia lawyers (CLE = continuing legal education class) on the new law, and I am awfully glad he did. I learned allot including the following:
- You should always read the actual statute
§ 40.1-28.7:8. Covenants not to compete prohibited as to low-wage employees; civil penalty
- When you read it, pay attention. For example, this law says
- If your boss makes you sign one, and you make less than $59,000 ish you can sue your boss
- And when you sue your boss, you can ask for attorneys fees and costs
- and your boss has to pay $10,000 penalty
- And your boss has to post this new law: “Every employer shall post a copy of this section or a summary approved by the Department in the same location where other employee notices required by state or federal law are posted. An employer that fails to post a copy of this section or an approved summary of this section shall be issued by the Department a written warning for the first violation, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $250 for a second violation, and shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for a third and each subsequent violation as determined by the Commissioner. Civil penalties owed under this subsection shall be paid to the Commissioner for deposit in the general fund.”
- Oddly, this posting thing isn’t just limited to bosses who ask employees to sign non-competes.
- If you are made to sign one, you have two years AFTER you signed it, to sue!
In sum – we now have two classes of employees in Virginia, starting July 1, 2020.
Those who make less than $59,000 who can’t be bound by a Non-Compete, and those who make more, and can be.
It is a step in the right direction. And please note, it doesn’t apply to Severance Agreements – or non-poaching agreements (which address hiring away other employees).
Thank you Dan, for the illuminating CLE.
And thanks to the General Assembly for putting workers first. Also, as an aside – I would just like to remind the member of the GA who told me years ago “Virginia will never expand Medicaid and Virginia will never vote to limit non-compete agreements, just stop trying” that thankfully, he was wrong. We kept trying!